The controversial Drexel professor who, on Christmas Eve a year ago, tweeted, “All I want for Christmas is white genocide,” will be leaving the university, he announced.
However, George Ciccariello-Maher isn’t blaming himself and his inflammatory social media offerings for being at the root of the troubles he’s faced at the Philadelphia school. The associate professor of politics and global studies is blaming a year-long campaign by a right-wing “internet mob” for alleged “harassment.”
He said he will leave Drexel at the end of this year in a statement he issued Thursday on Twitter.
The professor wrote: “I will no longer work at Drexel University. This is not a decision I take lightly; however, after nearly a year of harassment by right-wing, white supremacist media outlets and internet mobs, after death threats and threats of violence directed against me and my family, my situation has become unsustainable. Staying at Drexel in the eye of this storm has become detrimental to my own writing, speaking and organizing.
His statement went on to read: “In the face of aggression from the racist Right and impending global catastrophe, we must defend our universities, our students, and ourselves by defending the most vulnerable among us and by making our campuses unsafe spaces for white supremacists.”
Ciccariello-Maher has indeed brought plenty of attention to himself and Drexel with controversial and often inflammatory tweets on various national issues. He was placed on administrative leave for his tweet regarding the Las Vegas massacre in which 58 people were gunned down. The professor blamed it on the “narrative of white victimization” and “Trumpism.”
In March, he tweeted his disgust when an airline passenger offered his first-class seat to a U.S. military service member. The professor tweeted the gesture made him want “vomit or yell.”
Drexel’s administration had previously defended the professor’s right to free speech, but in a statement following last year’s Christmas Eve tweets, made it clear that his statements were “reprehensible” and did not reflect the views of the university.
The ongoing controversies created by the professor’s tweets created uncomfortable situations for the administration, including an apparent backlash in which donors started to reconsider their partnership with the school, Fox News reported. It prompted an inquiry into the professor’s proclamations.
The university’s provost reportedly wrote to Ciccariello-Maher that “at least two potential significant donors to the university have withheld previously promised donations” while a number of prospective students reversed their decisions to attend Drexel, according to Fox News.
But for Ciccariello-Maher, the issue of free speech is a monumental one for university society at large. In his resignation statement, he said that “we are at war,” and he accused conservatives of “targeting campuses with thinly veiled provocations disguised as free speech.”